Help us reflect on language in international development in Scotland

Help us reflect on language in international development in Scotland

Ahead of our 2021 Annual Conference on 1 and 2 December, we published a new version of our discussion paper on language use in our sector that was first published back in January 2021.

Now entitled 'Reflecting on language in international development in Scotland , this new version still aims to put forward some ideas on why its important to reflect on our language in the context of anti-racism and decolonisation, but also attempts to encourage organisations to adopt a deliberate and critical stance towards their own language use through the creation of a 'language policy'.

With input from an academic, Dr Colin Reilly, whose research focuses on multilingualism and language policy within Sub Saharan Africa, we think this new version takes us closer towards building a practical how-to toolkit with our members that helps ensure continuous reflection of our language choices.

In the paper, we offer some context for the discussions, some draft principles to guide our language choices, and some suggestions for how to practically reflect on our language use.

The paper does not aim to give all the answers, nor ask all the right questions. We are not prescribing how our members should use language but encouraging them to adopt a critical stance on their own language use which ensures that their language does not cause people harm or perpetuate coloniality.

Feedback from our members and their partners is vital to build this into a toolkit

At this stage, we hope this paper is  useful for wider discussions to build on within the sector in Scotland and beyond. To go further, we are keen to get feedback from as wide a range of actors as possible.

Specifically, we are keen to hear about the following:

To let us know your feedback, you can fill in the form on the resource page itself here, or email us at if you have any other thoughts.